Whitepaper: The Omnichannel Data Management Platform

Your Key to Delivering Relevant Marketing at Scale


Executive Summary

Thanks to the consumer technology revolution, your customer journey today looks completely different than just a few years ago. Consumers are making more informed buying decisions in a much less linear fashion, taking advantage of an ever-growing array of screens, devices, and touchpoints. As a marketer, you now have opportunities to capture data at every point of an interaction and deliver much more personalized brand experiences to consumers. But to do so, you must overcome two big problems:

  • Inconsistencies in data formats and consumer identifiers used across channels and devices
  • A huge influx in data that you don’t always know how to use

Because the buyer’s journey is so complex today, it takes tremendous effort both to reach customers with relevant messages and to optimize spend across offline and online channels. The reason is simple: Omnichannel suffers from a lack of consistent data across touchpoints. Without a way to connect disparate datasets from siloed channels and de-duplicate the plethora of transient identifiers across devices, it is effectively impossible to plan, execute, and measure program impact both online and offline.

Ad technology has long been at the cutting edge of maximizing audience reach and measuring results, and the data management platform (DMP) grew out of the need to create a consolidated view of target audiences and campaign performance across an expanding and fragmented media ecosystem. With the new imperative to create a 360-degree view of the consumer across all touchpoints—including offline—the definition of a DMP is expanding.

Today’s DMP must evolve so you can execute programs that are relevant, contextual, and personalized in this omnichannel world. Here’s how the DMP needs to change:

  1. It must be based on an authoritative identity methodology that validates and reconciles all digital identifiers against an authoritative source of identity. This is the only way to accurately track and measure the effectiveness of marketing in an omnichannel, multi-touchpoint consumer journey.
  2. It must remain neutral, incorporating data from a broad set of data, media, and technology partners rather than monetizing data or media. This unbiased view is critical to delivering a complete picture of all customer activities across the marketing ecosystem.
  3. It must be completely open, giving you full access to your data at the event level, not just “black box” reports or aggregated data. This aspect of the DMP is critical because marketers need complete control of their data assets for custom analysis, integration, and advanced modeling.

Omnichannel Success Depends on Connecting the Dots in a New Customer Journey

With more screens and more devices in the hands of consumers, your brand has more data than ever before to plan, execute, and evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. As exciting as this new world looks, many marketers are still struggling to take advantage of these ever-growing volumes of data. Consider that:

  • There are 1.4 billion smart devices in North America. 2
  • 41 percent of US online adults access the Internet on their smartphone several times per day. 3
  • 85 percent of smartphone time is spent in apps, where cookies (the traditional Web identifiers) don’t reach.4
  • 52 percent of online adults now use two or more social media sites, often with different handles or user names.5

Consumer behavior is now fundamentally omnichannel.

  • In the retail space, Deloitte predicts that digital interactions are expected to influence 64 cents of every dollar spent in stores by the end of 2015, or $2.2 trillion.7
  • Nearly 8 in 10 consumers (76 percent) surveyed interact with brands or products before arriving at the store and are therefore making digitally influenced decisions much earlier in the shopping process. 8
  • Consumers have come to expect a seamless interplay between their digital and offline experiences.

Here’s the omnichannel challenge: It’s impossible to understand consumers, determine which marketing activities are effective, or optimize for the best results without a unified view of consumer interactions across all channels, both online and offline. Fact: Success in one channel plus success in another channel does not equal omnichannel success. To offer a standout customer experience and maximize marketing ROI, you must be able to look at campaign success for a target audience across all channels (see the figure above).

Omnichannel Measurement Demands De-siloed Data and a Unified View of the Customer

The new marketing mandate is to measure everything and prove results. Marketers like you have responded quickly, but they have done so by tracking and measuring every new channel, device, or technology in a separate silo using a separate set of identifiers:

  • Online advertising uses cookies to recognize consumers and measure their activities.
  • Mobile uses a combination of cookies and mobile advertising identifiers.
  • Offline activities use email addresses, loyalty card numbers, and other identifiers.

But consumers interact with you everywhere. Worse yet, they often give you inconsistent information as they move across different channels and devices. For example, a consumer might use one email address when she registers on your website, a land line and a different email address when she signs up for your loyalty program, her cell phone number when she installs your mobile app, and no information at all when she visits your mobile site. Resolving these different identifiers into a single person is not an easy task; as a result, your consumer often has four separate records in your different data silos.

In order to execute effectively and measure accurately, you need a way to link the data in these different silos together, eliminate the duplication between them, and measure success on a consumer-by-consumer basis rather than channel-by-channel. If you’re not doing so, you’re probably misallocating your valuable marketing budget. The stakes have never been higher to get it right!

Traditional DMPs Only Address the Digital Measurement Problem

DMPs emerged out of a complex ad tech landscape, where brands needed a better way to understand how to model the most attractive digital audience segments, target them effectively (mostly via cookies), and deliver more relevant, personalized ads that achieve higher conversion rates. Over time, marketers have integrated more and more data elements into the DMP, including first-party data from their CRM systems, and have extended their reach to new activation channels such as mobile. Forward-looking companies are seeing the DMP as a central repository of consumer intelligence, one that not only informs decisions in paid media but also drives insights for website personalization, call center remarketing, creative development, and other aspects of the marketing strategy.

With the right organizational capabilities and governance, DMP technology has a lot of promise to improve online campaign effectiveness and reach and to minimize duplicate spending. However, the omnichannel imperative has changed the rules of the game. DMPs struggle to perform as effectively in an increasingly cookie-less world.

Omnichannel Consumer Behavior Exposes DMP Blind Spots

As the ecosystem of devices and channels grows, its increasing complexity has exposed significant blind spots in traditional DMPs:

  1. The consumer journey remains invisible outside a limited marketing ecosystem. Traditional DMPs that monetize through the sale of media only integrate with the inventory they arbitrage as part of their DSP and therefore have no view into consumer engagement beyond this small part of the marketing ecosystem. As a result, the steps in the consumer journey that occur outside of the DSP’s partner properties remain invisible. In addition, you may inadvertently pay twice to reach and engage the same audience because the DMP is unable to identify overlap in audience reach when you syndicate through multiple DSPs or when your inventory providers fall outside your DSP/DMP combination.
  2. Bias for a digital-only view obscures the offline journey. A primary weakness of the traditional DMP is its lack of a persistent identifier to resolve unique identifiers from online and offline channels into a single consumer view. While many vendors claim to have persistent consumer identifiers, the reality is that they simply stitch together CRM data and online identifiers via email addresses. This approach only works for identifiable site visitors (that is, people who have logged into the site, which is typically only 0.85 percent to 2 percent of site visitors) and leaves marketers with a very narrow, digital-only slice of the vast majority of consumers they want to reach.
  3. Digital identities are not resolved to a single consumer. A traditional DMP may use a combination of deterministic and probabilistic methods to unify multiple digital identifiers that represent a single consumer. Most of these methods fail to provide effective identity resolution when the same consumer is registered with multiple emails, replaces his or her device, or changes his or her physical address. (Consider that the industry average for email address churn in opt-in subscriber lists is 20 to 30 percent per year, according to Oracle.11 ) The result is overspend and ad fatigue.
  4. Digital behaviors do not always map to real-world consumer profiles. A traditional DMP offers segmentation based on digital behaviors (such as sites visited or mobile apps downloaded) to build an understanding of the consumer. However, without real-time corroboration with an authoritative source of identity, you must rely on inaccurate proxies of your true targets. For example, the “sports car enthusiast” who configures vehicles on luxury automotive websites may not have the requisite income or be in the market for a new car. These mixed signals lead to less-than-optimal marketing spend when ads are delivered to consumers who are not a strong fit for the brand’s products or services.

The Omnichannel DMP: A Complete Picture of Your Customer

The key to successful marketing execution and measurement in an omnichannel world is to adopt a new class of DMP – one that that has the capability to see through the blind spots caused by transient cookie data and lack of offline visibility. This new DMP has evolved from the traditional, digital-only DMP in three important ways:

1. An Omnichannel DMP Includes an Authoritative Identity Methodology at Its Core

The Omnichannel DMP stands apart from its predecessors by offering a methodology for resolving authoritative identity that reconciles the many identifiers generated in different channels and recognizes them collectively as a single consumer. It connects both past and present identifiers, including name, address, phone number, email addresses, cookies, and mobile device IDs, to provide a complete and accurate profile of the consumer.

Only a DMP with an authoritative identity methodology allows you to:

  • Corroborate online and offline identifiers, recognizing them as a single person.
  • Utilize first-party data to precisely segment and target at scale. The Omnichannel DMP can bring in any data that’s relevant to better understanding your consumers. It enriches the data in your CRM/ marketing automation platform (MAP), eliminates duplicates, and adds precision to online campaign targeting through first-party data onboarding.
  • Build rich audience profiles that are more likely to match your best customers, using validated authoritative demographic, psychographic, and behavioral data analysis. An Omnichannel DMP offers advanced marketing analytics and segmentation to build high-performing audiences from rich attributes pulled from a wide variety of sources—not just website visitation or third-party data—and then linked together through a common identity methodology.
  • Measure the full customer journey by connecting disparate identifiers from online and offline touchpoints, including web, display, search, social, mobile, email, call center, and direct mail. The Omnichannel DMP analyzes the entire universe of customer engagements—not just the web. Because it recognizes people across channels and devices, it can credit online and offline leads, conversions, and sales to the individual campaigns to which they were exposed.

2. The Omnichannel DMP Offers Neutral Analysis of Marketing Performance

In order for the data in your DMP to stay fresh and accurate, you need:

  • Access to all of the data sources and attributes, coming from both offline and online sources, you need to target with precision.
  • A critical mass of interactions for accurate performance measurement.

Traditionally, some DMPs have monetized inputs (the third-party data that you bring) and outputs (the media buys you make based on segmentation and analytics). This business model will have to change to eliminate both real and perceived conflicts of interest. An Omnichannel DMP fosters integrations with a broad set of data partners, making up-to-date, comprehensive data its top priority.

3. An Omnichannel DMP Is Open, with Full Access to All Data at the Event-Level

In the omnichannel world, measurement and attribution is much more complex. Consumer journeys vary tremendously between brands and product categories. Sophisticated marketers cannot cut corners by relying on a standard set of analyses that don’t reflect their consumer journey and obscure event-level data with “black box” or audience-based reporting.

An Omnichannel DMP operates on the key premise that all of your data is yours. It provides a granular level of detail, “normalizing” interactions from various touchpoints around a persistent identifier representing a single person. You can bring all of this data into your own analytics environment to uncover powerful marketing insights. Of course, this level of transparency is only possible if your event-level data is connected together through an underlying authoritative identity methodology.

It’s Time for Your DMP to Evolve

Technology now makes it possible to link disparate customer touchpoints—in-store, web, mobile, social, and more—into a unified, seamless brand experience. This type of omnichannel marketing has the potential to highly impact their key drivers of success: increasing online sales (62 percent), increasing customer satisfaction or similar metric (59 percent), and increasing profitability (55 percent). But in order to deliver the marketing ROI that your executive team demands and to prove your effectiveness, you must have an omnichannel view of your audience as well as the frequency, reach, and overlap in your campaigns. This omnichannel view needs to encompass all media—not just digital—so that you know what’s working, what’s not, and what could work better.

Contact Neustar to learn how you can adopt an Omnichannel DMP strategy that helps you:

  • Grow reach while improving conversion rates
  • Optimize your ad spend and eliminate waste while delivering a better customer experience
  • And ultimately, increase sales

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